Dakar: Team Rally Pan America stage 13 report

Our third country in three days. Now we can truly say that it is "Africa hot." The stage today was fast and dangerous, apparently. Since they marked the course, there must have been some rain, because many big holes were not marked. Chris ...

Our third country in three days. Now we can truly say that it is "Africa hot." The stage today was fast and dangerous, apparently. Since they marked the course, there must have been some rain, because many big holes were not marked. Chris Blais's consistency has paid off. Marc Coma got lost early, then crashed out of the rally, bringing Chris from 4th to 3rd. I just tried to talk to Chris, but he was on the phone, probably to his wife.

Casey McCoy has also been steady and consistent. He now sits in 31st place overall. He says he had fun in the beginning of the stage ripping through the forest, but that the stage then got very fast. He kept the PAi 525 just under top speed, but had to be very careful to look for unmarked square-edged holes.

Team Heartland Dakar is still alive in Jim Radcliff, their mechanic. Even with rider Tim Hall injured and out of the rally, Jim is busy with Chris Jones's bike, necessary because Chris's assistance vehicle didn't make it into Morocco. My navigator Gary Sparks is lending a hand as well. Chris is running strong and looking good.

Paul's bike didn't need much at all today after the special. He pulled up next to us as we were entering the bivouac with some obvious crash damage, shaking his head. But, the only real damage was scratches to his helmet and tank. He's ready to ride to Dakar tomorrow, and so is his bike.

Steve says he rides with Chris all day, then tries to leave him behind in the last 20km or so. Today Steve came in about a minute ahead of Chris, and both of them seem to be slowly moving up the rankings. Not that we're watching the rankings much. A finish here is a victory. Only the very strongest survive this rally.

Americans and friends still in the rally:
Chris Blais in 3rd.
Casey McCoy in 31st
Sunny Irvine (Mexico) in 60th.
Steve LaRoza in 95th.
Chris Jones in 98th.
Paul Broome (UK) in 103rd.

Robb and I are looking forward to getting to Dakar. Steve Huff from Wheels 2 Africa should be waiting for us there. We'll unload all of our bike spares and tools and load up with mosquito nets, shoes, and other aid materials and head back off into Senegal. Apparently we can't get enough of driving these trucks.

We're bivouac'ed right next to Repsol Mitsubishi today. Quite a contrast in budget!

Fun fun
Charlie

-credit: trpa

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Marc Coma , Casey McCoy , Chris Blais , Chris Jones